Q&A with top management | From the president to investors
Responses to questions below are as of the month posted. The situation may have changed, due to various factors including economic conditions and the competitive landscape within the industry, depending on the time of viewing.
- Will you be opening your stores during the year end and New Year's holiday period?
- With the exception of a few stores, all stores will be closed on January 1, 2018. Also, please be careful as the opening hours will be different from usual during the year end and New Year's holiday period. For details, please see each store's announcement page.
- What is the reason for an increase in monthly sales in November?
- On September 22, the launch day of the iPhone, we began simultaneously selling the Premium Member Value Pack, which provides devices and premium services. It has gradually been accepted by both new customers and our existing members.
- What are your feelings regarding recruitment?
- The services and products we provide to our members and customers are introduced one by one through our staff members at each store. For that reason, we regard recruitment and staff training as important factors and will continue to reinforce them.
We have a system for recruiting new graduates and an internal system for promoting temporary and contract employees, and will flexibly hire and promote staff members.
- Can the complimentary tickets for shareholders only be used at stores?
- They can be used for (1) purchasing products and paying for technical services at stores, (2) Internet shopping and (3) the Premium Service (product maintenance service available to members for a monthly fee). For details, please call our staff in charge of complimentary tickets for shareholders at 045-472-9838 (weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.).
- What is the sales status of iPhone X?
- We are now accepting pre-orders for this highly visible smartphone. At present, we have not yet reached all of our customers who pre-ordered the iPhone X, but will continue to sell and offer them service plans.
- Recently there was a major Windows update.
What is the status of the technical support desk and customers bringing computers to stores for help with the Windows update?
- We haven't seen any major disruptions; however, some customers experiencing trouble with their computer shutting down during the Windows update and other customers whose Windows update has taken a long time to complete have come to our stores for help.
The Windows update may take time if it is done after turning on your computer for the first time in a while. Since the Windows update may take an entire day to complete in some cases, do not forcibly turn off your computer even if the update takes a long time. Please contact us if you have any questions.
- How are your recruitment activities proceeding?
- While we are in the final stage of recruitment activities for the next spring, we are continuously working on developing our human resources through various measures including the internal promotion of part-time workers to full-time employees.
- How was your business in September?
- In September last year, we experienced a decline in the number of visitors to our stores due to our voluntary cutback of sales promotion activities, which negatively affected store sales such as products sales and technical support services.
On September 22 this year, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were launched. On the same day, we launched in a fully-fledged manner our new service-inclusive product for our Premium Service members, "Membership Solution Hardware Plan." This provides an all-in-one package containing devices, support services and a warranty for property damage that offers repair or exchange with a new device, thereby expanding our product and service line-up.
- Will the realignment of the MVNO industry affect your company?
- We are seeing various moves but we have no idea how they will affect our company at this moment. We will closely follow developments.
- What effects do you expect to have from your advertisement, "Please do not hesitate to contact us even if you bought the product at another company's store"?
- Our basic CSR policy states that our mission is to eliminate the disparities in the information society (bridging the so-called "digital divide") that arise as a result of differences in age, gender, income, education, place of residence and other factors by using our stores. This concept stands at the core of our business operations.
To resolve our customers' problems related to all types of devices, Internet use, data, and networks; this is the basic conduct in our carrying out CSR and business operations. Based on this concept, we "support our customers' devices and IT environment" regardless of customers' purchase method, store and type (individual or corporation).
- Please comment on your sales status of iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
- We will carry all three models.
The launch of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus was made on September 22 and we have already started delivering them to customers at each store. The planned launch of iPhone X in November is garnering increased attention from our customers.
- Has the unseasonable weather affected the Company’s performance in August?
- There has been no direct impact.
- What do you expect for the new iPhone release?
- We will increase opportunities to support customers in purchasing, changing models, and switching cellular phone carriers. We will also support Premium Service subscribers to use their devices securely, because changing carriers and removing the SIM lock are situations where customers often have difficulties.
- What is the status of the renovation plan?
- We do not sell televisions.
We plan to renovate five to 10 stores annually, including two stores by the end of August and four stores in autumn.
- Please tell us about the announcement of the share buyback.
- The Company decided to acquire treasury stock simultaneously with the August 10 announcement of the first quarter’s financial results. The reason for this action is to enable the Company to pursue a flexible capital policy that can respond to changes in the business environment. The Company will acquire 1.5 million shares for the maximum of one billion yen by October 31, 2017.
- What was the purpose of opening the Roppongi Store this month?
- The store faces the street passing the intersection in front of Tokyo Midtown and is located halfway between Aoyama Store and Azabu-Juban Store. It is the first store we've ever had with a coffee shop.
We are aiming at a store where residents and office workers in the neighborhood and existing customers of Aoyama Store and Azabu-Juban Store can freely drop in when experiencing difficulty setting up or repairing their PCs and smartphones.
- Do you sell televisions?
- We do not sell televisions.
However, televisions are devices capable of extending their functions and convenience to and coexisting with other digital home devices by linking to smartphones and digital devices. We provide support and setting services of devices purchased at other companies' stores—which demand we expect to increase.
- What is the situation regarding the General Shareholders’ Meeting?
- Today we communicated the situation regarding the General Shareholders’ Meeting on our company website. Please click here for details.
- When will the PC DEPOT Smart Life Roppongi Store open?
- The support counter, where member support, repair, and technical services will be carried out, will open July 7 ahead of the store opening.
- Does PC DEPOT handle previously owned smartphones?
- Yes we do. Please click here for information regarding our handling of previously owned products.
- Do you think that increasing security awareness will benefit PC DEPOT?
- Increasing security awareness benefits both us and our customers.
We will continue to increase awareness among staff and strive to assist customers in improving security.
- Please let us know about your store-opening policy for the current term.
- Regarding store development, we plan to renovate five to ten stores in the current term.
Considering the circumstances, we will work flexibly to open new PC DEPOT Smart Life Stores and PC DEPOT PC Clinics.
We are planning to open PC DEPOT Smart Life Roppongi Store (provisional name) in Minato-ku, Tokyo in July (2017).
- Do you think Google and other companies' smart speakers will benefit PC DEPOT?
- A smart speaker is considered a revolutionary device capable of changing people's lives. As many people need support for such devices, we think that people will expect our company to play a role in giving this support.
- Support for Windows Vista terminated on April 11. What kind of effect does that have?
- The expiration of the support service by Microsoft Corporation increases the risk of virus infection and personal information leakage. Considering that many of our customers still use this version, we would like to continue meeting their request for replacement or support. Moreover, we would like to proactively respond to our customers’ potential needs through advertisement and our website.
- VAIO Corporation started selling the VAIO Phone A smartphone. Is it included in your services?
- It is an Android-based SIM free smartphone which is available not only for business use but also for private use as a device that allows multiple SIMs to be used simultaneously. We provide services for the smartphone in all PC DEPOT Smart Life Stores.
- Can I apply for a student discount plan for different kinds of smartphones?
- We accept applications for each carrier such as docomo, au, SoftBank, and Y!mobile in all PC DEPOT Smart Life Stores.
- Is your company’s performance affected by the growing demand for MVNOs offering low-priced SIM cards and smartphones?
- At this point in time, its influence on sales cannot be estimated.
We think demand for the service will grow proportionately with the number of customers who want support for the service as the use of low-priced SIM cards and smartphones continues to increase.
We will continue to promote the sale of our own line of smartphones that are bundled with MVNO support, JUST PRICE FON.
- Students wishing to begin their careers in April 2018 have started their job hunt. Could you tell us about your company’s recruitment plan for the next fiscal year?
- We plan to recruit a number of new employees comparable to that for April 2017 (100 persons).
At the same time, we will strive to improve the productivity of our current employees.
- The media is reporting that distribution costs are rising. Will this affect the Company’s performance?
- We do not think that it will greatly affect our business.
This is because our online sales volume is low, as our stores are mainly community-based.
- Is there any influence from Premium Friday?
- At this moment, influence on sales cannot be estimated.
- How many new employees will join the company in April?
- In April 2017, 70 new employees will join the company. For the services that our company provides, the quality of staff providing services is the important factor. We will put a great deal of effort into improving the quality of the staff by providing in-house training as well as store operations and customer service in order for customers to be able to safely use our company.
- Two stores were renovated in February. Do you plan on continuing to renovate stores in the future?
- Both the Funabashi Store in Funabashi-shi, Chiba and the Niiza Store in Niiza-shi, Saitama were renovated from "PC DEPOT" to "PC DEPOT Smart Life Stores" in February. We opened the first PC DEPOT Smart Life Store in August 2013. At present, there are 31 PC DEPOT Smart Life stores.
We will continue to successively consider renovations in the future in consideration of local customer needs.
- Does PC DEPOT provide optical line services?
- We provide optical line services by purchasing optical lines wholesale from NTT East and West.
In addition, we also offer provider services, e-mail services, cloud services, and more.
- Did the heavy snowfall in Japan affect the number of visitors to your stores?
- Since most of our stores are located in the Kanto region of eastern Japan, the heavy snow in January only had a minor impact across the company.
- Japan's three leading mobile phone companies have announced reduced rates for students.
How will this affect your operations?
- It will not affect us in any major way.
We believe that demand for low-priced smartphones will grow even further as options, such as various price ranges, services, and carriers, expand.
We will continue to promote the sale of our own line of smartphones, JUST PRICE FON.